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Board of Directors
Diane Sterner, Immediate Past Chair
Diane Sterner is the founding director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey. This statewide association of 150 community-based development organizations was created in 1989 to enhance the efforts of these groups to create housing and economic opportunities, revitalize their communities, and improve the climate for community development.
Prior to joining the Network Ms. Sterner worked as a community development consultant with non-profit housing developers, and as director of housing and economic development for La Casa de Don Pedro, a community-based organization in Newark.Ms. Sterner has helped found several other organizations to address issues critical to New Jersey communities, including the Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Environment and Homes for NJ, and serves on the boards of NJ Policy Perspective, the National Housing Institute and NJ Citizen Action. As a James A. Johnson Fellow in 2006 she helped found NACEDA as a voice for community development practitioners in Washington, DC and a vehicle for bringing together state and local CDC associations to support the field.
Kate Little, Board Member
Ms. Little has a successful history connected to the affordable housing industry. She serves as the president and CEO of the Georgia State Trade Association of Nonprofit Developers (G-STAND), an organization dedicated to increasing the capacity of nonprofit housing organizations to develop affordable housing. Previously, she served on the staff of the Georgia Housing Finance Authority (later subsumed by the Georgia Department of Community Affairs), and for eight years was Atlanta Director of The Enterprise Foundation, working with nonprofits in neglected communities to improve housing conditions. Ms. Little also directed a reinvestment program in Atlanta’s Westview neighborhood, after working for the Atlanta Housing Authority for five years.Ms. Little received her B. A. degree from North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. She also holds a Master’s degree in Urban Studies from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas.
Terry Chelikowsky, Board Member
Ms. Terry Chelikowsky is the Executive Director of the Florida Alliance of Community Development Corporations (FLACDC). The Alliance’s mission is to support and advance the housing, economic development and community building strategies of its members and to build the power of low and moderate income people to achieve greater economic, social and racial justice. She got her start in the community development industry in 1989 at the Ohio CDC Association, leaving in 1994 to establish her own consulting firm focusing on organizational strategic planning and microenterprise program development/implementation.
Since joining FLACDC in 2006, Ms. Chelikowsky has worked steadily to build the structural capacity of members to better meet their missions; develop mutually beneficial partnership with other statewide organizations; and educate stakeholders, policy makers and funders on the critical role played by CDCs in community economic development.
Sharon Legenza, Board Member
Sharon K. Legenza is the Executive Director of Housing Action Illinois, a statewide, membership-based organization formed to protect and expand the availability of quality, affordable housing throughout Illinois. Prior to joining Housing Action, she served as the interim Executive Director for the ACLU of Alaska, having temporarily relocated to Alaska to conduct an ACLU-sponsored human rights investigation of the state prison system.
Sharon has served as of counsel with the law firm of Miner, Barnhill & Galland, in Chicago, as the Fair Housing Project Director for the Chicago Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, and as an associate with the law firm of Sidley Austin. She has successfully litigated numerous civil rights and constitutional law cases, and is an expert on fair and affordable housing issues. Sharon is currently working on initiatives to mitigate foreclosures and stabilize communities at risk because of the housing crisis.
Sharon serves on the Board of Directors of the Asian American Institute, and is a past president of the Chicago Area Fair Housing Alliance, the Asian American Institute and the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Chicago Area. She has served on the Circuit Court of Cook County Chancery Division Mortgage Foreclosure Case Management Advisory Committee, the Court of Cook County Committee on Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Court, and the Circuit Court of Cook County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.
Sharon is a graduate of Northwestern University School of Law, where she served on the Editorial Board for the Journal of International Law and Business. Her undergraduate degree is from the University of Chicago.
Joseph McNeely, Board Member
Joe McNeely is a nationally known expert and consultant on community development and a veteran community organizer. He is currently the Executive Director of the Central Baltimore Partnership and Co-facilitator of the Weinberg Fellows program of the University of Baltimore’s Schaefer Center. He was the founding executive of Baltimore’s South East Community Organization (SECO) and Southeast Community Development Corporation before serving at the national level in the Carter Administration. For 20 years he served as the President of the national Development Training Institute (DTI), which national columnist Neal Peirce called “the country’s premier trainer of CDC (Community Development Corporation) leaders.”
Brigette Rasberry, Board Member
In her role at North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations, Brigette E. Rasberry works closely with the President/CEO in setting the organization's strategic direction and provides capacity building to expand the cadre of professionally trained CED practitioners within the state of North Carolina. Ms. Rasberry has been trained in both the Success Measures Outcome Evaluation model offered by NeighborWorks America as well as the Organizational Capacity Assessment (OCA) methodology offered by PACT, International.
Ms. Rasberry graduated magna cum laude from St. Augustine’s College in Raleigh, NC, were she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Organizational Management. She has served the community economic development field for 13 years. She first served as a practitioner, working at her alma mater to assist in restoring a commercial district just beyond the campus walls. From there she went on to serve as Project Manager of an urban community development corporation in Durham, NC. Ms. Rasberry later became Executive Director of that same organization, expanding her community economic development focus to all aspects of community and family stabilization. Ms. Rasberry has now moved on to her current position as Vice President/Chief Operating Officer of the North Carolina Association of Community Development Corporations (NCACDC). She has been able to utilize not only her years of experience in the field but also her more than 15 years of experience in public service and management.
In 2008, Ms. Rasberry was elected to the Board of Directors for the National Alliance of Community Economic Development Associations (NACEDA).
Rick Sauer, Board Member
Rick Sauer has more than twenty years’ experience in non-profit housing and community development, with a focus on policy and advocacy, and non-profit administration. In 1999 he became Executive Director of the Philadelphia Association of Community Development Corporations, a citywide association of CDCs and other organizations creating vibrant and diverse neighborhoods.Previously, he was Associate Director of the Housing and Community Development Network of New Jersey, an association of non-profit developers, and Assistant Editor of Shelterforce magazine for the National Housing Institute. He received a 2007 Eisenhower Fellowship on Urban Challenges, and holds a Masters Degree in Urban Planning and Policy Development from Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He currently serves on numerous housing and community development-related boards and committees, including NACEDA, the Housing Alliance of Pennsylvania, Urban Affairs Coalition, and Philadelphia Housing Trust Fund Oversight Board.
Nate Coffman, Board Member
Nate Coffman, Executive Director for the Ohio CDCAssociation (OCDCA), joined the organization in December 2009. OCDCA is a statewide trade association representing rural and urban community development corporations. Previously he directed the revitalization efforts of Cleveland's historic Ohio City neighborhood with the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation (OCNW). A native of southeastern Ohio, Mr. Coffman lead OCNW after serving eight years as executive director of the Home Builders Association of Greater Cleveland (HBA) and previously as its government and community affairs manager. At the HBA, Nate helped bring the organization and the membership to invest and develop in many underserved urban neighborhoods working in partnership with local CDC's. He also worked several years in Columbus for U.S. Senator John Glenn and as an aide at the Ohio Senate. He is a graduate of The Ohio State University and has completed coursework for his master’s degree in journalism from Ohio University
Chris Hannifan, Board Member
Chris Hannifan joined the Housing Network in May 2006 as Deputy Director. After many years in the housing and community development field, she brings a wide range of skill and experience to the position.
Prior to joining as staff, she represented member community development corporation West Bay Community Action Program on the Housing Network board in her capacity as their Director of Housing. Her work at West Bay focused on affordable housing development and homebuyer education- she is one of a handful of trainers in Rhode Island certified by NeighborWorks. Also as a result of her role at West Bay, Chris has served as the secretary of board of the newly formed statewide affordable housing land trust – Community Housing Land Trust of RI-which is dedicated to creating and maintaining a permanently affordable stock of housing.
In addition to her direct work in the field, Chris worked at RI Housing, the state finance agency that supports most of the community development in the state, for fifteen years both as a Program Coordinator and as an Underwriter. She is a member of the Narragansett Bay Commission Advisory Board, The Roger Williams University Advisory Board, The NACEDA Executive Board, The Poverello Center Board, Past President of the Mortgage Underwrite Association and active in the Rhode Island Historical Society.
Karl Guenther, Board Member
Karl Guenther is a Community Development Specialist at the Public Policy Research Center at the University of Missouri St. Louis. Karl is lead staff for the Community Builders Network of Metro St. Louis. The Network is a professional association of nonprofit community building organizations whose goal is to build vibrant neighborhoods where people want – and can afford – to live, creating a stronger and more competitive regional economy. Also in this role, Karl helps to advance research and data driven decision making related to the region’s community development sector by participating in research and connecting people and organizations to best practices from around the country.
Karl is also a co-founder of Invest STL, a fund at the Greater Saint Louis Community Foundation dedicated to supporting great neighborhood development in the St. Louis region. This fund is being created through engaged crowd funding with the goal of doing participatory granting and development of a sustainable endowed fund.
Previously Karl was a Program Associate at the Incarnate Word Foundation where he helped organize the first Marketplace of Ideas to attract funders to community projects on the city’s northside; coordinated a funders circle to learn lessons from experts in collective impact; and maintained relationships with grantees from across the region.
Karl holds a Masters Degree from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis focused on social & economic development and research.